My youngest daughter turns three the weekend before Orlando City kicks off the upcoming MLS season. We're having a party for her in the backyard, and it just so happens that I kicked off a home improvement project last month to build a new patio. Now, like any good husband, I confidently assured my wife that outside of laying the concrete, I could personally do all the work. Also, prior to setting up the party, I assured her that all the work related to the patio would be done well in advance.
While I have every intention of meeting said schedule, I find myself now spending every second of spare time planning, working, or otherwise advancing this project. It's like my own personal preseason except instead of culminating in a long arduous season, it will end with some deep couch sitting with MLS on the big screen.
While you continue warming up from last night's brisk temperatures at Orlando City's open practice (where the team unveiled the new away kits), you can check out some links.
Nocerino? More Like Noceri-yes!
Or really, Noceri-maybe. So, remember when Orlando City was on the verge of signing Antonio Nocerino, only then they didn't. And then the team was faced with tampering threats? Well, looks like this saga isn't quite dead yet. DC United has reached an agreement with Boca Juniors midfielder Luciano Acosta, thus fulfilling their midfield needs. This means that they are now again engaging in talks with Orlando City about trading Nocerino's MLS rights. I guess that means it's pretty much a done deal, and we should start getting orders in for Nocerino jerseys, right? Noceri-sigh.
Orlando City Signs New Head of Development Academy
Following the departure of Darren Powell, who went on to become coach of San Antonio FC, Orlando City has filled the vacancy of Academy Director by hiring David Longwell from Scottish club St. Mirren. I'm afraid that at this point, I must admit my lack of knowledge regarding youth academies in Scotland. Still, I don't want to let you loyal readers down, so I went to that bastion of information: Google. According to message board blackandwhitearmy.com, David has done a "fantastic job with youth development!" Ok, maybe message boards aren't the most reliable source, but this article from Herald Scotland refers to the St. Mirren academy as "five star-rated" and, more importantly, shows a very proactive approach when faced with a problem. In this case addressing the perception that Scottish academies were not being productive.
Concerns About Rio
Look, I get it that media coverage of potential pandemics tends to get blown out of proportion and the likelihood of actually contracting these diseases is often far less than what many perceive. Still, if I was a woman interested in having a family and I was scheduled to attend a soccer tournament in Brazil, I might have second thoughts. Apparently, these are the thoughts going through Hope Solo's mind, as the USWNT prepares for its Olympic journey. It's far too early to know how the Zika virus will progress over the next few months and how the medical community will react, but I would be willing to venture that Solo is simply verbalizing the concerns of many Olympic hopefuls. It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
Premier League Pushback
Last weekend about 10,000 Liverpool fans staged a walkout to protest an increase in ticket prices. The core of the concern is that the increase came amid a 70% increase in the television deal. Well, it seems that Liverpool fans were just the tip of the financial iceberg. Now supporter groups of multiple teams are looking to organize walkouts. Normally, I tend to lean towards the "let corporations do what's best for them" part of the spectrum, but I believe that sports franchises provide a public service, and while they have the right to their profits, they also have a responsibility to their fans, They should be cautious about forgetting their foundation.
- Former Orlando City midfielder Adama Mbengue will be playing for Senegal this weekend against Mexico. Mbengue scored three goals in three seasons for the USL version of OCSC.
- NBA owners and major European soccer franchises are starting a futsal league that is expected to be the "preeminent" league. We'll have to wait and see if the stars of the FIFA Futsal World Cup are willing to join the league.
- The Colorado Rapids have acquired DC United forward Conor Doyle in a trade. Doyle had two goals in 25 games for United last season.